Police arrest ex-CEO of Kenya Power company

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan authorities said on Saturday they had arrested a former chief executive officer of the state-run distributor Kenya Power on suspicion of economic crimes and wanted to charge the current chief executive.

Kenya has been hit by a new spate of scandals involving bogus tenders and suppliers with the alleged theft of hundreds of millions of shillings by state officials from several government bodies.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations said on Twitter their detectives had arrested Ben Chumo, former Kenya Power chief executive officer, Beatrice Meso, its general manager for corporate affairs and company secretary, and Peter Mwicigi, its general manager regional co-ordination.

When sought for comment, Chumo asked to be called back later. Meso and Mwicigi were not immediately available to comment.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations said two other Kenya Power managers it was looking for had surrendered into their custody on Saturday.

The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said it planned to charge eight other Kenya Power officials including Ken Tarus, the present chief executive officer, who at the time of the alleged offences was the general manager for finance. The charges relate to economic crime and abuse of office.

Tarus’s phone was off and he was not immediately available to comment.

Also to be charged are four directors of a private company, Muwa Trading.

The prosecutor’s office said the charges arose from a 2012 contract between Kenya Power and Muwa Trading which led to the loss of $3.1 million for the supply of transformers, most of which the prosecutor said were faulty.

The office said other charges arose from the awards of labor and transport contracts in 2017. It recommended Tarus and eight other Kenya Power officials and four officials from another private company, Millers Enterprises, be arraigned in court.

Reporting by Humphrey Malalo; Editing by George Obulutsa and Stephen Powell